Cara Riesling – 5 hours until impact
Cara had barely enough time to shut her eyes before she was hit by the first charge.
Her eyes shot open and her body writhed against the restraints, but another current of electricity entered her so quickly afterwards that she couldn’t form coherent thought.
“Raygo!” Valyria seemed to be screaming, “Turn it off! Turn it off!”
Cara couldn’t think enough to realize she was talking about the machine, or that Raygo was holding Valyria back, telling her something about how it was dangerous to stop the process.
Cara had the urge to scream herself, but no sounds could escape her throat. Her jaw clenching, her teeth locking together and the overpowering electricity stole the voice from her.
She couldn’t register any pain. It was the opposite, actually.
Her senses were overloading. Her head felt like it was swarming with ants. Her body was on fire, but she couldn’t feel it burning.
It felt like lightning was coursing through her veins.
The metal bits that had been following her dropped to the floor, before floating up and dropping again.
Cara somehow found the strength to close her eyes again, and she felt something else surging into her vision.
It came in pieces.
Day after day of the same white walls and white floors flooded into her mind, day after day of grueling exercises and tests, day after day of watching the lab coats scurrying away and watching her fearfully.
The anger came back. The frustration of being caged, of being poked and prodded. She saw them – the tall man with the glasses and the woman with the honey-colored hair. She knew, instinctually, who they were.
It could have been minutes, maybe hours, before the machine powered down, beeping.
Cara was too overwhelmed to move. She had almost forgotten the use of her limbs with the memories crammed into her head. There were still some missing, but the sheer amount of them had sent her into shock.
“Cara?” a garbled voice came, as if through water, “Can you hear me?”
“Oh god…” another voice slurred through the jelly that was the air.
Odd bits and pieces flitted through her vision.
She remembered how to load and shoot a gun with one hand. She remembered being starved for days. She remembered learning how to stitch and bind a wound. She remembered the days of impossible tasks, the high-security systems she had to hack.
And through it all, the anger. The bitter hatred.
“Cara…come on…I know you’re in there…”
“You killed her!”
The voices were coming closer.
“How could I know it would-?”
“-I told you from the start this was a bad idea.”
“Do you have to blame everything on me?”
“Well, I wasn’t the one that attached the wires to her and turned on the machine!”
Cara felt herself being pulled to the surface, and opened her eyes a crack.
“You guys are fighting over me? I’m flattered.”
They both turned to her, surprised.
“Can someone take these straps off? I’m feeling a bit stiff.” She slurred, blinking against the brightness of the light.
Raygo and Valyria quickly and methodically undid her restraints and she sat up rigidly, ripping the wires off.
Valyria handed her the shirt and sweater from the floor and she pulled them on, swinging her legs over the side of the bed.
“So…um…” Raygo started, “Did you…see anything?”
Cara considered whether or not to tell him the truth, but when he saw her expression he immediately understood.
“How was it?”
She averted her eyes from his searching green gaze.
“I spent my entire life here.”